Having tried many different assessment tools and monitoring techniques, many are time consuming and irrelevant. Often we spend so much time analysing the data and entering scores into a computer that we miss the most worthwhile part. The feedback. Any assessment tool should be used to enhance and develop student learning outcomes. Assessment should be meaningful and relevant for us and students. One very quick tool that I find invaluable is an assessment snapshot. Correcting upper primary work is time consuming. When I taught senior students, I felt that I was drowning in data. All of it important. So I started just recording the focus and what I was looking for with the kids at the start of each experience. The benefit was they knew what I was focussing on and I knew that there was clear expectations. During learning experiences, I simply stapled the snapshot to the work sample. I sat with students or roved around and highlighted their snapshot when I saw they had completed it. On the other hand if I saw something that needs attention, I could give quick feedback. At the end of the session, I simply collected the work samples, signed it and double checked the work. One hidden benefit that I discovered was when this work was sent home with a snapshot, parents were also clear on what was expected and what you were looking for. Many parents communicated that they like the clarity of the expectations. Now that I have moved year levels, I have tried using tracking checklist etc. However, I found placing the criteria on the snapshot and invaluable tool for the juniors as they naturally want to aim high. When the snapshot is with them, students tend to ask less questions about what is expected. I hope that people give this assessment tool a try. Truly invaluable.
A little excited to be uploading my first every blog post! I am brand new to the world of blogging and boy is it a big world! Carley and I began this journey together a little while ago - in fact we were on a girl's weekend away last year and what began as a seed of an idea has slowly turned into an exciting reality for the both of us.
We've both faced different challenges along the way, but I can honestly say that the one that has taken over my life (only a slight exaggeration!) is the one that I'm sure most working mums talk about - a lack of time. The fact that there are never enough hours in the day!!! I'm sure I won't be the first (or the last) to struggle with my time management. Sometimes I feel like I belong in a circus - I'd be one of those weird looking clowns that juggles with the crazy eyes having a bad hair day!
What am I juggling you ask? Well, just to name a few...a husband (almost like having another child occasionally!), a 3 year old, 7 month old, emergency teaching, tutoring three evenings a week, kinder runs, swimming lessons and all the never ending jobs that come part and parcel with having a home (the washing machine and I have a very close relationship). Somewhere in there I attempt to carve out some time to create new products / resources, help to manage our TPT store, check emails, learn how to use Pinterest, update our Facebook status and now I can add blogging to the To-Do list!
The last few months have taught me two very valuable lessons (especially if I want to keep my sanity):
1. I really need to brush up on my juggling skills!
2. Accept that often it is near impossible to keep all those balls in the air successfully and if you want to not just do something but give it your absolute best, something else usually has to give (the house cleaning in my case).
I've learnt that I need to let the little things go in favour of the more important things. So if you come to visit me then yes - my house will most likely look like a bomb has hit it BUT I did get to play with my children, make them laugh and read them a story or two. Deciding not to vaccuum today also means that I got to feed my love of creating..oh and email Carley of course! So if you do nothing else - take the time today to do something you love - I'm betting you'll feel better for it :)
Another lesson...? If you ever want to get work done - stay away from social media..now that's a whole different blog post on its own!!!'
'TIll next time - Annette :)
Over the years, I have tried many way to get organised. I hate being disorganised. One method that has worked for me for a few years now is my correcting box. When correcting students work! I find the one thing that slows me down is not having all of the materials that I need . First, I run out of highlighters, then I see work that I wish I could add a sticker to or then I want to stick a note to remind students of something. So I just ended up creating a correcting box. In the box I keep highlighters, clips to clip work, staplers and staples, post it notes, stickers, stamps and pens. I find that my work corrections go much smoother and quicker now.
I had an interesting discussion with a large group of children today. We spoke about worry bugs and how they can makes us feel sick. When I asked the children to draw their worry bugs I was surprised at the range of responses. As adults, we often think that children's worries are not as deep as ours or that they will grow out of it in time. But listening to some of their worries it struck me that we all need to take the time to truly listen to kids and not just hear them. Fears ranged from being left alone for a few minutes when younger, to feeling forgotten and mainly fear of being left out or alone. Many of their worries centred around being connected to someone or feeling less isolated. These are fears that can often be addressed with calm listening and reassurance. After all, it's often the little worries that can develop into the big ones.
Today was certainly one of those days. A day when the weather was dreadful and the wind made the kids crazy. We have all had them. Days when you find yourself counting to ten, breathing just that little bit deeper and finding the nearest cupboard to silently scream. As I left work today, all that was racing through my head was negativity. I had to tell myself STOP- that thinking is not helping. Sure it was a challenging day. But tomorrow may not be. I am still going home to a warm house where I can find time to chill. I hope today that all of you out there take the time to stop, adjust your thinking and be grateful for what you have.
Maths seems to be a hot topic of debate between parents, educators and children. Who is doing it right? Which process is the best? Am I teaching them the wrong way? I used to be like that until a wise educator reminded me that there isn't just one way, all children learn in different ways and using different strategies. One thing is consistent and that is no matter which strategy kids use, they still need to know basic math facts quickly and accurately. This app certainly addresses that fact. The one added bonus with this app is that it won't register the answer until the number is written correctly. This is excellent for kids who write numbers backwards! This is an easy to use app that while not as engaging as other apps, does the job.
Annette Palma and Carley Rogozik/ Dawson